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Crossing the Threshold

Leah Gebber

“It’s all about supporting women through their journeys, whatever those journeys may be,” says Miriam Maslin, doula and grief therapist. In her work as a doula and workshop facilitator, Miriam has helped hundreds of women face the devastation of perinatal and other forms of loss, offering succor and support to help them cross the threshold into healing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

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Miriam was already a young grandmother when she trained as a doula. “I was working through a physical illness, which directed me to leave what I was doing. I’d been an interior designer for years.” The recognition was cemented one evening as she sat learning with a friend. “I can see you as a doula,” her learning partner commented. Miriam realized that the time was ripe for a change of direction.

Learning to support women through their births was more than a career change for Miriam. With it came the deep satisfaction that she was offering a supportive hand in a tumultuous life event. “There’s something about birth work that touches a very deep place within women,” Miriam says. She tapped into this deep place as she met with new mothers and guided them. Miriam’s approach is holistic and spiritual. It invites the mother to become a wholehearted participant in the birthing process.

When Miriam met Yocheved before her second birth, Miriam asked her, “In painful situations, how do you seek comfort?”

Yocheved answered, “I always run away from pain.” Yocheved confessed to Miriam that she couldn’t see how there could be any joy or benefit from pain. Miriam spent time working through her emotional issues, which were the barriers that were keeping her from seeing the birth as a spiritual experience.

A few hours into labor, Yocheved started to despair. Her husband remembered that he and his wife had found reading Sefer Yonah to be a source of great healing and power during Yocheved’s first birth. In a dimly lit room (bright lights are not conducive to the production of oxytocin), he sat next to her and read her the entire sefer. After he finished, Yocheved was calm and serene. “Yonah couldn’t run away from his mission, and I can’t run away from this,” she told Miriam. Soon after, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. The birthing experience had become a time of profound emotional and spiritual transformation.

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